We’re excited to debut the West Hollywood Spotlight series — a highlight of hosts from the local home sharing community. West Hollywood residents have democratized travel by turning their largest expense — their homes — into an asset to earn extra income and generate economic activity across the city.
“I drove across the country in five days, and just so happened to arrive on my mother’s 80th birthday,” recalls Airbnb host Andrea about her cross-country trek to take care of her mother. “I cared for my mother the last 10 weeks of her life, and that’s what got me to West Hollywood eight years ago, and the city just became my home.”
“West Hollywood is like living in a big city, but feeling like you’re living in a small town.”
The silver-haired mother of two and daughter of a world-renowned photographer, has been an Airbnb host for more than four years, and has enjoyed the experience from day one. “My first guest was from Australia… and I was like oh, this is really nice,” she says. “The next thing you know I had another guest, then another guest, and everyone who kept arriving were super nice people.”
Andrea rents out her master bedroom and relies on the extra income to stay in her home. “[My Airbnb income] is the difference between being solvent and insolvent,” she says. Beyond the financial stability, home sharing has also surfaced an unexpected benefit. “Home sharing has been an amazing experience for my kids,” says Andrea. “I had a guest from North Carolina that became best friends with my daughter — they still talk to each other on a regular basis.”
“Home sharing has been an amazing experience for my kids.”
Having hosted so many guests, Andrea understands the benefits of home sharing for travelers as well. “[Many of my guests] are coming here to move to LA and can use this as an opportunity to find a place near where they may want to live,” she notes. “They can’t [afford] to stay at a hotel for $350 a night.”
“If they [install a cap], that would be the difference between me living in my apartment and living in my car.”
The West Hollywood City Council is considering eliminating its current ban on short-term rentals, but the current proposal would limit the number of nights a host can share their home to 90 days per year. “If they [install a cap], that would be the difference between me living in my apartment and living in my car,” explained Andrea.
Ultimately, Andrea wants the City Council to craft fair, common-sense rules that protect the rights of West Hollywood residents to share their homes to earn much-needed extra income. “I need another source of income, and [home sharing] is that opportunity,” she says. “My son is in high school and my daughter is in college, and home sharing is a way for me to [ensure] they have a roof over their heads so they can achieve more in life and have more opportunities — home sharing gives us that chance.”
Photo credit: Madeline Derujinsky